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Australia has again resisted the temptation to hand Steve Smith the captaincy, instead handing the reins to Matthew Wade for Sunday’s must-win Twenty20 against India.

Australia lost regular captain Aaron Finch to a glute injury suffered in the series opener in Canberra and promoted Wade to the top job for the first time in his international career.

Coach Justin Langer said Smith was considered for the job on Fox Sports, but indicated there will steps to be taken before he would be made captain of the national team again.

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“Matty Wade was the vice-captain, Steve Smith has done a brilliant job in the past, there is a process probably to go through til he becomes captain again,” Langer said. “We’ll go through that.

“He is doing all the right things to show leadership without a title at the moment.”

Finch injured his right glute during Friday’s 11-run defeat in Canberra, but Langer is hopeful he will be fit in time for the third and final T20.

“He was close so hopefully right for Tuesday.”

Former captain of Australia across all three formats, Smith was stripped of that honour following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

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However his two-year ban from leadership roles has now expired and both Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh backed him to take the captaincy at the SCG.

“If he (Finch) is not available, I personally would like to see Steve Smith captain the Australian side,” Taylor told Channel 9 ahead of play

“I’ve said for quite a while, there’s no doubt mistakes were made two and a half years ago now in Cape Town. There’s been penalties and they’ve been served.

“To me, now we’ve got to move on. Steve Smith is still looked at by this side as a leader in that team; even Finch, the one-day/T20 captain and [Test skipper] Tim Paine go to Steve Smith for advice at times. He’s a senior player.

“I know there might be some people out in the community who have a problem potentially with Steve Smith but I think tonight’s match, should Finch not play, is a great opportunity for the selectors to say, ‘We’ll give him the T20 captaincy and see how it goes’.

“You’re not making a call forever. You’ve got these two T20s before the Test matches start, where Tim Paine will captain, I think to test the waters.”

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“Personally I would give it to Steve Smith,” Waugh said on Fox Cricket ahead of Wade being confirmed as skipper. “He is the most experienced and why not? He has served his penalty.”

Waugh doubled down during the match, pointing to the fact Wade is not a certainty to be in the XI at next year’s T20 World Cup as reason to give Smith the captaincy in Finch’s absence.

“Nothing against Matthew Wade. I would have given it to Steve Smith. He is the logical choice. He has captained for a long time for Australia.

“I’m not disagreeing with it (Wade’s appointment), but personally I would say Smith. Is Matthew Wade going to be a certainty to be in the team next year?”



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